Exploring the topic of BIAS at Thornwald Park
Wednesday, June 2 at 2 pm
Saturday, June 5 at 2 pm (CANCELLED due to heat).

Once registered, participants received a link to the assessment referenced in the description below along with information regarding the specific meeting point and a phone number for our walk point of contact.

June 2 Summary

The hit Broadway musical, Avenue Q, includes a satirical song called, “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist.” While the characters in the musical are puppets, and the song is light-hearted, the song suggests that everyone is biased to some degree. Numerous studies have demonstrated that bias is part of human nature. The danger lies in thinking that we are always guided by objectivity, which can blind us to our own prejudicial attitudes and behaviors.

On June 2, six women participated in AAUW Carlisle’s Topic Walk at Thornwald Park. The purpose of the walk was to explore the topic of implicit bias while enjoying exercise in the park. Prior to the walk participants were encouraged to take two short online implicit bias tests – one on racial bias and the other on gender bias on the career/family tracks. After walking and discussing their experiences with the tests in pairs, the six group members gathered to discuss what they had learned about themselves by taking the tests, what weaknesses they perceived in the tests, and how they encountered bias in their own lives. With a small group, everyone was able to share their insights and personal stories and to explore how their attitudes may have developed. The participants agreed that it was a great afternoon of consciousness-raising, friendly conversation, and exercise.

Topic Walk Description

Biased. Who Me? Lately, implicit bias has been a hot topic in the media. One of the questions posed to Merrick Garland in his confirmation hearing for attorney general was whether he “believed” in the concept. Implicit bias describes the automatic association people make between different groups of people, which may lead to stereotypes. Research in neurology and social and cognitive psychology has shown that people hold implicit biases even in the absence of express bigotry. Our culture tends to encourage our biases. Before this walk, each of us will take a confidential, short (10 minutes) online Implicit Bias Assessment to see what it might reveal about us. On the walk, we will discuss the concept of implicit bias, why it’s a problem and what we learned about ourselves.

If you aren’t able to join us on our walk, you might like to participate in the implicit bias assessment on your own.  Here are a few to try:

Gender – Career. This IAT often reveals a relative link between family and females and between career and males.

Race (‘Black – White’ IAT). This IAT requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin. It indicates that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black.

AAUW Resources

This interactive quiz (desktop or laptop computer required. Not compatible on mobile or tablet devices.) — created by AAUW, Project Implicit and Harvard University — will help you identify your implicit biases about women in leadership roles.

AAUW research report — Barriers & Bias:  The Status of Women in Leadership published in 2016.  The website contains summary data and links to download the research.